Thursday, September 4, 2008

JD Seamus' "Last Call"

JD Seamus is the author of a series of novels based in Manhattan including the whodunit, Last Call. "Part mystery, part comedy, and part action-adventure, the novel chronicles in sparkling style the lives of a diverse group who frequent Jimmie Collins’ bar, fall in and out of love, and come together to help their good friend."

Here Seamus spells out the dream cast for an adaptation of Last Call:
A good friend gave me a tip that I’ve continued to use throughout my writing. The tip was, as you suggest, to pick a star to use in character building.

My choice was easy in Last Call. A tough, sensitive, New Yorker who could do comedy. Fuhgetaboutit. Robert Freakin’ De Niro! Forget he’s not Irish but he’s perfect for the role of Jimmie Collins. Bar owner, tough guy, made enough money to go in business by stealing bearer bonds with a couple of rising mafia stars. Close to the church. Treats his bar patrons like family, all around nice guy but will ‘knock you on your ass’ if you cross him.

It was actually fun. My wife would hear me laughing loudly and come into my office to see what the hell was going on. I’d try to explain that it’s how De Niro interacts with Nathan, a small town guy (Randy Quaid-did I mention the guy was a lovable dufus) relocating to New York? She’d just stare and I’d explain it’s how he deals with a big mouth, short Italian (Danny DeVito—just too easy) bar regular who has the worst tailor in the world? Or how he would interact with two Manhattan North cops with career paths heading south (anyone from the old Barney Miller show)? Or a long time bar patron who is witty, tough and has a problem picking men (Annette O’Toole). De Niro lines her up with Nathan after telling Nathan to not hurt her in any way or he’s coming after him. Looking up at my wife to see if she gets it, I often get a sage nod, a pat on the head and a smile. She then walks out and closes the door quietly behind her. I guess unless you’ve banged out a book you can’t possibly comprehend.

Last Call was perfectly casted with De Niro. There could’ve never been anyone else. Even the slow times when you’re burning pages building characters. Even De Niro as Jimmie making his sick wife breakfast in bed is an adventure. Picture De Niro fussing over breakfast and toast is way over his head. Juice and coffee, a real napkin after discarding his first candidate; a paper towel. Sliced apple, a little cheese. He’s trying and trying hard. Got to be perfect--the De Niro way. Picture him walking out of the kitchen, remembering the sweetener at the last minute and putting it on the tray. He puts the whole box on the tray, takes a step then stops. He worries that the box is screwing up his presentation. He frowns. Throwing a leftover rose on the tray, he grabs a soup spoon and shrugs, “It’ll have to do. What the hell? I ain’t Martha Stewart.”

Forget narrative. With De Niro, it’s all dialogue. And that’s my favorite. That’s where I stick it to the competition in my genre. Me and De Niro. Those suckers don’t have a chance.
Learn more about Last Call and its author at JD Seamus' website.

--Marshal Zeringue